What to do if your Galaxy S9 screen won’t unlock and PIN won’t work

Today’s #GalaxyS9 troubleshooting article wants to address one of the common problems in Android devices — user being locked out due to incorrect or non-working PIN. We hope you’ll find this post helpful.

Problem #1: What to do if your Galaxy S9 screen won’t unlock and PIN not working

I’ve entered the correct PIN code but it’s still not working. I have followed the other procedures to fix this issue such as clearing the cache, rebooting the system but still didn’t work. Please help me fix this issue without doing a hard reset on my phone. Also, is there any way to back up the phone data without going in to Settings because as mentioned, the phone doesn’t accept my pin code (and I am 100% sure it’s the correct one!) therefore won’t let me pass the lock screen.  Many thanks. 

Solution: The PIN is like your phone’s key to unlock its main door. If you’ve lost that key or if it’s not working for some reason, you go the other routes by, say, going through the backdoor (backup unlock options), or you may be forced to break open the main door. If you’re positive that the PIN you’re trying to enter is correct, then there must be something wrong with your device at this time. It may have a defective digitizer, or the operating system is not recognizing the touches that you’re doing on the screen. These are the some of the possible solutions that you can try:

Option #1: Unlock your Galaxy S9 using Android Device Manager

This should be the first step that you must try, especially if you are signed in to your Google account in the phone. This method only works if you already registered your device with Android Device Manager. If it’s registered, you can then use ADM’s lock feature to reset the Google password using a computer. Below are the requirements in order for you to use ADM to unlock your S9:

  • phone must be turned on
  • phone must be signed in to your Google account
  • phone must be connected to wifi or mobile data
  • phone must be visible in Google Play
  • phone’s GPS or location must be turned on
  • phone’s Find My Device feature must be turned on
  • phone’s Allow remote lock and erase feature must be enabled

If any of these requirements is not met, there’s a chance that you won’t be able to use ADM to unlock your S9.

However, if everything is set, you can proceed to unlocking the device by doing the following:

  1. Go to the Android Device Manager from a computer.
  2. Find your Galaxy S9 on the screen.
  3. Enable “Lock & Erase” feature.
  4. Follow the given steps on the page to lock your phone.
  5. Set a temporary password.
  6. Enter the temporary password on your S9.
  7. Create a new password.

Option #2: Unlock your S9 using Samsung Find My Mobile

Samsung’s Find My Mobile is a remote service similar to Google’s ADM. In order for it to work, you must have registered your device in Find My Mobile website or service. And like ADM, it also requires some things. Below are the necessary things that must be met in order for you to use it:

  • phone’s Remote Controls feature must be on
  • Google location service must be on
  • phone must be connected to wifi or mobile data

If you’ve already registered your device to Samsung’s Find My Mobile service before and the rest of the requirements are met, you can then do the following to unlock your phone:

  1. In your computer, go to Samsung Find My Mobile website and sign in.
  2. If you have multiple devices registered, make sure to select the correct one in the upper left hand side of the screen.
  3. Click on the arrow icon to begin searching for your device.
  4. Once the service has located the device, scroll down the options on the right until you see Unlock My Device option.
  5. Click Unlock My Device.
  6. Enter your Samsung password.
  7. Click Unlock.

Option #3: Unlock the device by performing a factory reset

You only want to do this option if the first two won’t work. Keep in mind though that Factory Reset Protection will be in place so wiping the phone will only work if you can provide the Google username and password registered on the device.

To factory reset your S9:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  7. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

NOTE: If you are unable to unlock your S9 using the first and second options, then that means all your unsaved data are good as gone. There’s no way to create a copy of your files or your phone’s image when the screen won’t unlock at all.

Problem #2: Galaxy S9 front and rear cameras not working due to physical damage

Hello, I have been having trouble with my S9’s rear-facing camera for months now. One day I noticed that the glass surrounding it was broken. For a few hours I could still use the rear camera and the front-facing camera still worked properly. However they both ended up failing. Now when I open my default camera application, it shows a black screen and locks up. This also occurs on other apps like snapchat. My flashlight app says a different app is using the camera whenever I open it but as far as I can tell no app is using it. I ordered replacement glass and changed it out but this did not fix the issue. Nothing changes in safemode or when I clear the cache of every app. Would a hard reset fix this issue? Would it be worth the hassle of transferring all my data? Thanks. 

Solution: We don’t think a factory reset will help in this case. That the glass on the back of your phone was broken means that you probably dropped the device before causing permanent damage to the motherboard inside. Physical break in the circuit can lead to all sorts of issues so unless you address this first, most probably by doing an expensive motherboard replacement, you have to accept the fact that you have a permanently damaged device. If you don’t want to lose irreplaceable files, be sure to back them up while you still can.

Problem #3: Galaxy S9 features stopped working one by one

Features are one by one starting not to work.  The LED indicator for having text messages does not come on, there is no ringtone for messages, I can open emails but not view the content.  I was on the phone with US Cellular tech support for an hour on Saturday and no assistance other than to perform a hard restore. My understanding is I will lose all data when doing so, and I would prefer not to.  I don’t have time to spend hours at a USC store, if there are any options on restoring these features, I would appreciate your assistance. Thank you.

Solution: Like the representative you talked to before, we have no idea why your S9 is acting the way it is right now so we’ll also to ultimately do a factory reset later on. Before you do that though, consider wiping the cache partition first and see what happens. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the Android logo displays, release all three keys.
  4. An ‘Installing system update’ message will show for 30 – 60 seconds before the Android system recovery menu options appear.
  5. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight wipe cache partition.
  6. Press Power key to select.
  7. Press the Volume down key to highlight yes, them and press the Power key to select.
  8. When the wipe cache partition is complete, Reboot system now is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

Should nothing change after wiping the cache partition, try to observe how your S9 works when it’s on safe mode. It’s possible that the problem may be caused by bad third party app. While on safe mode, no third party app will be allowed to run so it should help you check if our supicion is right.

To boot your S9 Plus to safe mode:

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
  3. When “SAMSUNG” appears on the screen, release the Power key.
  4. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  5. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  6. Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  7. Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.
  8. Open Facebook app and see how it works. To know if there’s a difference, use Facebook app for a few hours.

To identify which of your apps is causing the trouble, you should boot the phone back to safe mode and follow these steps:

  1. Boot to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem.
  3. Once you’ve confirmed that a third party app is to blame, you can start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added.
  4. After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If your S9 is still problematic, repeat steps 1-4.

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